Paramedics Save 13-Year Old during Dance

Posted by cocreator on May 06, 2009
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We will be reporting on lives saved around the world since our first documented life saved here in Singapore.

The young girls were practising ahead of a forthcoming championship with their proud parents looking on.

The atmosphere quickly changed, however, when Erin collapsed in the arms of dance teacher Myrna Kennedy, before falling to the floor.

Onlookers wrongly presumed she had simply fainted and would soon come round, but off-duty paramedic and family friend John Gallacher suspected something was seriously wrong.

Father-of-two John, from Drumchapel, Glasgow, was there watching daughter Claire dancing. He was alerted to the chaos by screams coming from the hall.

The 50-year-old said: “Erin was on the floor and I went over and had a look.

Within seconds I realised this was more than a faint. Her breathing was shallow, her colour was terrible. I couldn’t get a pulse and realised she’d gone into cardiac arrest.

“This was no place for kids to be, so we cleared the hall and I called an ambulance before starting CPR on her until the ambulance had arrived.”

Unable to breathe on her own, John was breathing for Erin and performed chest compressions in a desperate bid to bring her back to life.

During the lifesaving attempt, Erin’s horrified mum Claire and older sister Ashley walked in – they’d been at the local shop when Erin collapsed.

John added: “When they left she was fine, when they came back she was on the deck. I don’t think she realised what was actually going on.

“I was doing full CPR.”

Claire, 54, said: “My eldest daughter Kerry came running out to meet us in the car park and told me Erin had ‘fainted or something’. I ran into the hall and saw Erin lying there. I didn’t realised how serious it was but she’d stopped breathing and had no heart beat.”

Once the paramedics arrived, they shocked Erin’s heart using a defibrillator.

Although she had a pulse, she was still unconscious and wasn’t breathing. She was taken by ambulance to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children atYorkhill in Glasgow.

Critically-ill Erin lapsed into a coma and didn’t regain consciousness for five-and-a-half weeks. Miraculously, on the day of her 14th birthday, on February 13, 2002, she woke up.

Claire added: “We were always hoping she would come round, but I didn’t plan anything for her birthday. I told no one to buy anything.

“Then at 9.30am a nurse called and told us Erin’s wakened.

“She apparently said ‘I want my mum’.

“I grabbed my clothes and rushed to her bedside. She opened her eyes and said ‘Hi Mum’. It was amazing.”

In a bid to prevent any further attacks, Erin had an implantable defibrillator fitted in April 2008.

Mum Claire is incredibly proud of Erin: “We were told Erin would not survive and look what she has achieved. She is here today and has had to relearn everything. She really is a miracle.”

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